Tag Archives: summer

10 Things I Learned This Summer

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. ~John Lubbock

Watermelon flags are on clearance and candy corn can be found at the grocery. One season has unofficially ended and another begun. It’s time to look back over the summer and see if I am any better off than when it began.

  1. Every summer I travel a LOT and then decide that next year I will stay home more. This summer I once again learned that I would rather stay home. I love the trips while they are happening, but the return home to chaos and a lawn ready to winter a herd of cattle sends me into despair every time. Here’s to next summer when I will master the skill of staying home.

2. Practicing what you preach is difficult, but so necessary. This summer I gave a lecture on the importance of nature to nurture the soul. My ending suggestions were 30 minutes a day outside and once a week 2-3 hours. Once a month should include a day retreat- or at least half a day if you can’t find an entire day- of uninterrupted nature, rest, meditation, and reflection. I have successfully managed the daily and weekly, the monthly is getting better.  The solitude gives me peace, the outdoors gives me perspective.

3. Trees are astounding, amazing, stunning . . . I could go on forever. The Hidden Life of Trees was part of my research reading this summer, and it opened my mind and eyes to things beyond my imagination. Trees talk to each other, and even to trees of other species. They intentionally plan mass reproduction cycles, tell giraffes to go somewhere else, and kill off their enemies. Read it. You will not regret it.

4. Medical personnel no longer use real venom to counteract snake bites. The artificial ‘antivenin’ costs $3900 a bag and you will gladly pay more than that for your baby to survive. Some things you could do without learning.

5. Chinese students are given homework to do over the summer. Not little packets of busywork in case they get bored, but books of homework and online assignments. It is not wise to inform young Chinese children that this is not the habit of American schools. If there is a rebellion, it is not my fault.

6. Bureaucracy at universities is exasperating. An incorrect charge applied to my son’s bill took nearly FIVE months to get taken off of his account. This meant classes were dropped and registrations were denied. Even going in person and hand delivering letters will not guarantee that business gets taken care of.

7. Losing a loved one mentally does not lessen the pain when they actually leave you physically. It was hard to say goodbye to Grandma, but I know it’s only “See you later!”

8. Peaches at the Virginia Farmer’s Market peak in August. Oh. My.

9. It will take an entire year to fix a kitchen after the ceiling falls in. We still don’t have cupboard doors up.

10. The idea of writing a one-syllable essay sounds horribly monotone, but in actuality is a beautiful  form of art. I’m so excited that my essay was chosen for publication in Short and Sweet, Too. All proceeds benefit World Christian Broadcasting. I’ll let you know when it comes out.

It’s been a summer of reflection swimming in peaceful waters, sometimes deep and murky, other times shallow and clear. I’ve discovered that peace does not mean the absence of pain, and love provides unexpected strength.

What did you learn this summer?

While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease. Gen 8:22 NASB


Watermelon Wonders

watermelonI had a stick of CareFree gum, but it didn’t work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality. ~ Mitch Hedberg

I have several summertime memories from childhood: swimming in the river, catching lightning bugs in the evenings, eating popsicles from the deep freeze, and spitting watermelon seeds.

When I was about seven years old, my father bought the family farm, and we moved beside my grandparents. It was a wonderful experience that brought me closer to my grandparents, watching Wheel of Fortune with them, baking cookies and biscuits, listening to their stories. I loved them, but occasionally I discovered something odd about my grandmother.

“Why do you put salt on watermelon?” I stuck out my tongue and made a face.

She laughed. “It makes the watermelon sweeter.”

“How can salt make it sweeter?” I don’t think I waited for an answer; I turned and ran off to spit seeds from the porch.

Fast forward to last year. I put a little salt on my watermelon. Guess what? She was right. It tasted sweeter.

My taste buds have aged and don’t work as well as they once did. What used to seem sweet enough, now is nearly tasteless. But when I add a little salt, the flavor bursts forth in sweet, sugary goodness.

Lately I feel like the world is a gritty piece of commercially farmed watermelon, tasteless, bland, not worth eating. Lies are told. Angry words are shouted. Bullets are shot. Insinuations are made. Stereotypes are promoted. Brothers and sisters are hurt.

A lot of people find this world bland, even distasteful. Jesus asks us to be salt to the world. We are to make the world more palatable for those around us. We add flavor, goodness, and sweetness to people’s lives. We make the world a better place by being salt and light.

Don’t people complain about unsalted food?

Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg?

My appetite disappears when I look at it;

I gag at the thought of eating it! Job 6:6-7 NLT